NASA has just confirmed July 2023 was the hottest month since 1880.
"NASA data confirms what billions around the world literally felt: temperatures in July 2023 made it the hottest month on record. In every corner of the country, Americans are right now experiencing firsthand the effects of the climate crisis," says NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
"The science is clear. We must act now to protect our communities and [our livable] planet; it's the only one we have."
From July 3 to August 7 we experienced 36 days straight of temperatures higher than the previous record.
Breaking news!!!— Prof. Eliot Jacobson (@EliotJacobson) August 9, 2023
The streak of consecutive days with global 2-meter temperatures setting a modern-day high has come to an end after 36 days.
Each day from July 3 to Aug. 7, global 2-meter temperatures exceeded the previous record of 16.924°C set July 24, 2022. pic.twitter.com/q2FveEdD5L
The mass of fossil fuels we've poured into our atmosphere, coupled with Earth's shift from La Nino to El Niño, has forced tens of millions of people to directly endure the severe heat of recent few months. Many in China have sought refuge from the heat in air raid shelters, while hundreds succumbed to heat-related illnesses.
My poor Sicily is burning. Temperatures have soared to a staggering 49 degrees Celsius. The situation has become extremely dire, with air quality severely compromised, making it difficult to breathe. It's like hell 😨 pic.twitter.com/WLS76pmGMR— Elis (@Elis_101) July 25, 2023
That excess energy has wrought havoc on Earth's atmospheric, glacial, and ocean systems. As fires ravage Canada, Russia, Europe, Africa, and Hawaii, storm and monsoon-fueled floods struck parts of the US, Middle East, Asia and Europe.
In light of these records NOAA predicts 2023 has a 50 percent chance of being the hottest year we've experienced since we humans began keeping records.
"2023 to date has been the third warmest on record," NOAA chief scientist Sarah Kapnick told AFP .
"It is virtually certain – over 99 percent chance – that 2023 will rank among the five warmest years on record with a nearly 50 percent probability that 2023 will rank warmest on record."
We are in uncharted territory.
Lahaina - Maui, Hawaii is basically gone.— Nahel Belgherze (@WxNB_) August 9, 2023
"The biggest impact of El Niño will actually occur in 2024," director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Gavin Schmidt, told AFP. "So we're anticipating that not only is 2023 going to be exceptionally warm and possibly a record warm year, but we anticipate that 2024 will be warmer still."
Coral reefs off the US coast experienced 100 percent mortality during this heat, which also interrupted attempts to aid reef recovery and increase their resilience.
But this doesn't mean it's too late to act. Every fraction of a degree we can mitigate will save countless future lives.
What's more, while frightening, these extremes and their associated events are well within expected climate model projections when the El Niño conditions are accounted for.
"Just because things are not "worse than we thought" in terms of global temperatures does not mean that the problem is not severe and getting worse," explains Berkley climatologist Zeke Hausfather in a blog post.
Unless we make some drastic, system-wide changes, Earth's fever is here to stay.